For people with little experience in marketing, the whole thing seems extremely daunting. There are many, many parts to get right. It seems like magic. It seems intractable.
I can clearly remember not understanding marketing at all, and the assumptions that I made about it were not very favorable — to me. I assumed that it was stupid, pointless drivel being peddled by hucksters. I assumed you couldn’t control it at all.
It turns out I was only partially right.
What I’ve realized lately about how to help technical people turn innovative products into companies fueled by self-service SaaS sales is this:
You can’t control who visits* You can’t control who buys You can only control what they see once they show up
Focus your attention obsessively on every single aspect of the experience that your users have from when they get to your site to when they sign up, try, and buy. Remember that there are parts of your funnel that you can control, and parts of your funnel that you can merely influence.
What you need to get right
Practically speaking, for companies that are marketing and selling to developers, this means that there are a few things you absolutely need to get right:
Your marketing site (www.yourproduct.io)* *has to look good. “Pretty good” is not good enough. Pay someone please.
**Your messaging has to be consistent. **You need to know who you are targeting with all of the words you publish as your company, everywhere. Marketing copy, email copy, in-application copy, everywhere.
Your packaging needs to match your messaging. If you are messaging to an enterprise crowd, package your product like an enterprise product. Likewise for self-service. No, you probably can’t do both at once, and you definitely can’t do both at once until you’re good at one of them.
Your value proposition needs to be very clear. People should know how using your stuff will make them better at what they do. Don’t tell them how you did it. Tell them what they’ll get out of it.
**Your communication should be tasteful. **I’m a fan of hustle and followup as much as the next person, but you can overdo it. Communicate when you have value to offer your users, not just to remind them that you exist.
You can do it
Once you talk yourself out of your latest anxiety attack about how you’re not marketing good enough, remember this: you can do it. You can see through the cloud of existential dread. You can make forward progress and learn from your mistakes. You just need to focus on the parts you can control, and do your best to merely influence the rest.
Sure, you can pay for advertising and therefore have reasonable control over **how many people visit, but my point stands: you shouldn’t focus on this until you’re sure that the rest of your funnel is solid.*